OPEC expects lower demand for its oil as US hits new milestone

OPEC expects lower demand for its crude oil as rival producers grab market share and the United States sets another output record. (AFP)
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Updated 15 January 2020

OPEC expects lower demand for its oil as US hits new milestone

  • The US will see total liquids output exceed a 20 million barrel per day milestone for the first time

LONDON: OPEC expects lower demand for its crude oil in 2020 even as global demand rises, it said on Wednesday, as rival producers grab market share and the United States looks set for another output record.

The United States, which has seen its output soar in recent years powered by shale, will see total liquids output exceed a 20 million barrel per day (bpd) milestone for the first time, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries forecast in its market report.

US liquids output will reach 20.21 million bpd in the fourth quarter of 2020 — almost meeting US demand of 21.34 million bpd, OPEC said.

It lowered its 2020 demand forecast for OPEC crude by 0.1 million barrels per day to 29.5 million.

That would be around 1.2 million bpd lower than in the whole of 2019 and in line with December production, when OPEC’s share of global output fell 0.1 percentage point month on month to 29.4 percent.

This year, it said OPEC’s market share is set to fall further as output booms in non-OPEC rivals including the United States, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Norway and Guyana while global demand is rising.

OPEC said it had raised its overall 2020 oil demand growth outlook by 0.14 million bpd to 1.22 million bpd from the previous month, reflecting an improved economic outlook and booming demand in India and China. If that growth materializes it would be 30% stronger than in 2019.

It raised its forecast for non-OPEC oil supply growth in 2020 by 0.18 million bpd to 2.35 million bpd, up from 1.86 million bpd in 2019.

“The continued accommodative monetary policies, coupled with an improvement in financial markets, could provide further support to ongoing increases in non-OPEC supply,” OPEC said.

OPEC and some non-OPEC allies such as Russia have been curbing production to prevent an oil glut and support oil prices above $60 per barrel. Their current deal expires in March.

“The collaboration between OPEC and non-OPEC producing countries remains essential in maintaining stability in the oil market,” OPEC said.


Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

Updated 27 min 34 sec ago

Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

  • Aramco see’s “partial recovery” from pandemic impact
  • Aramco president says company remains resilient

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, reported a net income of $6.57bn for the second quarter of 2020, the period which witnessed the most volatile oil market conditions for many decades.

The result, announced to the Tadawul stock exchange in Riyadh where the shares are listed, compared with income of $24.7 bn last year.

Amin Nasser, president and chief executive, said: “Despite COVID-19 bringing the world to a standstill, Aramco kept going. We have proven our financial resilience and operational reliability, setting a record in our business operations, while at the same time taking steps to ensure the health and safety of our people.”

Aramco’s dividend - a big attraction for the investors who bought into the world’s biggest initial public offering last year - will remain as pledged, Nasser added. Cash flow in the quarter amounted to $6.106 bn.

““Strong headwinds from reduced demand and lower oil prices are reflected in our second quarter results. Yet we delivered solid earnings because of our low production costs, unique scale, agile workforce, and unrivalled financial and operational strength. This helped us deliver on our plan to maintain a second quarter dividend of $18.75 billion to be paid in the third quarter,” he said.

Aramco said the loss was “mainly reflecting the impact of lower crude oil prices and declining refining and chemicals margins, partly offset by a decrease in production royalties resulting from lower crude oil prices and a decrease in the royalty rate from 20 per cent to 15 per cent, lower income taxes and zakat as a result of lower earnings, and higher other income related to sales for gas products.”

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Sales and revenue in the period - which saw oil prices collapse on “Black Monday” in April - fell 57 per cent to $32.861 bn from the comparable period last year. 

Nasser said he was cautiously optimistic that the world economy was slowly recovering from the depths of the pandemic lockdowns.

“We are seeing a partial recovery in the energy market as countries around the world take steps to ease restrictions and reboot their economies. Meanwhile, we continue to place people’s safety first and have adapted to the new normal, implementing wide-ranging precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 wherever we operate.

“We are determined to emerge from the pandemic stronger and will continue making progress on our long-term strategic journey, through ongoing investments in our business – which has one of the lowest upstream carbon footprints in the world,” he added.

Aramco expects capital expenditure to be at the lower end of the $25bn to $30bn range it has already indicated for this year.